Caption from Someone’s Flickr Album: “As I stood on the sidelines of the B2B, I befriended an older woman who was cheering on and “woowooing” everyone who passed by. We started shouting out to each other whenever we saw the first runner of a kind–first pirate! first banana! first kid! first pope! first man in a dress! This was our first naked woman to pass by.” Posted by Picasa

http://catherinegacad.com/2005/09/22/681/

The Art of Stalking

As you know, I ran the Bay to Breakers naked. After the race, I couldn’t wait to retrieve my picture as proof that I had done something so wacky. It just so happens that the pictures I pulled up were linked to some Black chick whose crinkled bib number looked like my number. I know I’m dark, but I ain’t black!

What a letdown. I was totally distraught. Now no one would believe that I actually ran the race in the buff.

Bless his soul, someone from the Bare to Breakers group that I ran with sent me two snapshots of myself naked. They were fuzzy, but at least I had evidence!

Last week, I received an email that demonstrates the power of the internet, the power of sleuthing, the power of stalking. Artie, for your reference, I mean ‘stalking’ in the nicest of connotations.

Here’s the email:

Miss. Catherin Gacad,

I’m terrible in English, I’m already intimidated by you’r English skills…

I have been browsing the photos at http://www.sportphoto.com/ for some interesting photos. OK, I was looking for the interesting photos of the ladies…. I came across you’r photo and lucky me, you were holding you’r bid # from a far but I could barely read it…. i wasn’t even sure it was correct….

Any way, now i know it’s correct! With the bid # I got you’r name and website and found some other photos you may be interested in here:

My question to you is this… Why would a highly educated, intelligent and church going women like you’r self want to run the race naked?? i think the female body is very beautiful and that is why I was looking for the photos in the first place but i wouldn’t expect someone like you’r self to run naked… Did you know you’r photos are on the web??? Did you expect that?? Will this be a detriment to you’r career??

There were just a few other female athletes that ran the bay to breakers completely naked…

OK, I’m a 50 year old single guy. I’ve never been married, hey I’ve never had a girl friend…. i guess i’m pretty lonely…. I’ve never been locked up or arrested….. i’m 50 years old… i grew up in Texas but now live in columbus, Ohio…..

I hope to hear from you… I’m some what depressed now.

Thank You, Artie

Artie, you sent me a treasure-trove of pictures I didn’t think existed. THANK YOU! By the way, aren’t I hot? I didn’t actively look for pictures of myself from the race day, but I truly appreciate the leg-work you’ve done in locating them for me. You’re the best!

In response to your questions, I ran the race naked because for the first time in a very long time, I was comfortable with my body. I guess it was just my way of proving it to myself. I didn’t do it for others. I seriously did it for myself, for my own personal reasons.

I know it must be hard to imagine a driven, successful person doing something like this. Society likes to place people in categories and those categories seem to determine what people can and cannot do. I’ve always been an over-achiever. I knew I would go to the best schools. I knew I would work for a great company. But I never let that ambition keep me from doing exactly what I really want to do. I hated my first job out of college. A true over-achiever would have lined up something else first. I just up and quit, and sold stocks from my portfolio to pay my rent. It was what I wanted to do. Quit. Same thing here. I’m not trying to live up to anyone’s expectations. Only my own.

A detriment to my career? Was Paris Hilton’s sex video a detriment to her career? This is my own personal business. I don’t run around the office naked!

Never been locked up or arrested? Artie, did anyone ever tell you…less is more.

Given my recent history, I’m on my way to being a 50 year old single girl. But Artie, it’s all good. Marriage is over-rated anyway, right? I would just concentrate on doing things you enjoy like spending time with family and friends. That’s what I do. And I’m truly happy.

Good luck, Artie. All the best to you. Thanks again for finding and sending me these pictures.

Naked

There isn’t a topic that generates more interest than running the Bay to Breakers naked. ‘Weren’t you cold?’ ‘Didn’t your boobs hurt?’ ‘Did you do it alone?’ Mind you, the Bay to Breakers isn’t a regular race. Thousands of people run it. It’s zany. People run in costumes. There are floats like the Michael Jackson Daycare Center. The streets are lined with throngs of cheering onlookers and bands. Runners also happen to strut in the buff.

My parents, aunts and uncles, even my friends’ parents flipped out. ‘What?!’ ‘No you didn’t!’ ‘What did your mother say?’ ‘Naked?? Naked??’

I’m sure most people think I ran the B2B for shock value. But this time, there was a personal issue I had come to terms with. I finally, finally stopped detesting my body.

I’m a recovering anorexic. In January, I said good-bye to my wonderful therapist, thanked her profusely for what she had done, and started my own road to recovery. It was the first time in years, I went without professional help.

I’m a junk food addict. I hate fruit, love chocolate. As a kid, I came home from school and helped myself to bowls–multiple bowls–of ice-cream. As a teenager, I had the body of a boy: flat-chested and thin. 75 pounds thin.

You’ve heard of the freshman 15. I gained the freshman 50. Put a voracious junk food addict (who never learned the concept of moderation) in an all-you-can-eat buffet-style dorm environment and watch her grow. I finished my first year in college weighing in at an obese 130 pounds. I’m five feet tall! I easily lost the weight, but the fear of being fat again stuck in the back of my head.

When I felt like I was gaining weight, I stopped eating. Sometimes, I’d go for a day. Other times, I’d go for a week. People find it hard to believe, but it’s true. I’d take calories in through liquids, but for days and days I would not eat a single thing. It wasn’t just about not eating. I abused diet pills, drank laxative teas. I stepped on a scale 20, 30, 40 times a day. I exercised to exhaustion. I constantly calculated calories, keeping a running total in my head at all times.

They say I’m a textbook anorexic–a perfectionist with extreme behavior patterns with an all or nothing attitude towards life. Very true. Therapy used to be such a struggle and a test of my patience. During sessions, I would scream “What is wrong with wanting to be 80 pounds? What’s so crazy about struggling to reach your goals? If I starve, I starve. No pain, no gain, right?”

All I can say is that having an eating disorder was exhausting and frustrating and unbearable. To a certain extent, I think I’ll always be anorexic, meaning that fear will never leave my head. I still step on a scale every morning. Without fail. But I no longer count calories. I don’t deprive myself. I eat when I’m hungry and even when I’m full, I still make room for dessert.

A damper of a posting, but I’m not looking for sympathy. In fact, it’s not something I like to talk about at all. If someone brought it up, I would probably turn bright red and try to change the topic. So this one isn’t a vignette. It’s more like Vixen’s Truth. Or her skeleton in the closet…literally a skeleton.

But if there’s one thing that could have really helped me–besides my last therapist who I respected and trusted–it would have been finding someone else who had struggled with an eating disorder and prevailed. This posting is really dedicated to anyone out there who has an unhealthy relationship with food or their body. I’ve been there, I know what it’s like. You can contact me anytime. And I know this great therapist who would probably be shocked…and proud to know that I ran a race in the buff.